Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz stepped up her fight with the nation’s top court, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), by introducing a motion before the court today asking for the impeachment of seven of its magistrates. With the motion, Ortega Diaz seeks the impeachment of six of the Constitutional Chamber’s sitting magistrates as well as two back-up magistrates.
The attorney general’s motion follows a flurry of activity yesterday between herself and the TSJ which included the court dismissing a motion filed by Ortega Diaz earlier as “inept”, to which the attorney general retaliated by filing a motion to annul the swearing-in of 33 of the court’s magistrates.
The TSJ is made up of 32 sitting magistrates and their back-ups. The court itself is divided into six chambers, the most powerful of which is the Constitutional Chamber since it alone can rule on constitutional matters.
Speaking to reporters as she filed her motion this morning, Ortega Diaz stressed that there had been “a break in the constitutional order” in Venezuela, and that the TSJ was at the heart of that break. She accused the top court of conspiring to destroy the republic, saying:
It is not through an act of force that the conspiracy against the nation takes shape, but rather through rulings. [The TSJ] is seeking to dismantle the State (…) it would mean the death of the law for these magistrates to remain in their positions.
Ortega Diaz took her criticism of the Constitutional Chamber magistrates further, suggesting that they would in fact be held criminally responsible for “conspiring against the republican nature of the nation”, and that the magistrates ruled not according to legal principles but rather “on a whim”.
On the TSJ’s penchant for issuing decisions against individuals and institutions that speak out against the regime, Ortega Diaz said:
It cannot be that the TSJ says, “I don’t like the National Assembly today, so I will eliminate it. Tomorrow I won’t like the Public Ministry so I will eliminate it. The next day I won’t like another institution, so I will eliminate it, too”.
The filing of the motion today becomes the sharpest rebuke of the Maduro regime by the attorney general since she began her public break from the national government earlier this year.
The motion, now officially before the TSJ, is virtually guaranteed to fail.
National Assembly Moves Fast to Appoint New Magistrates
The National Assembly met today to begin the process of appointing new magistrates to the TSJ in light of the motions filed by attorney general Ortega Diaz yesterday and today. Since the motions are unlikely to be approved, the legislature’s move is largely symbolic.
National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara spoke on the need to being the process immediately, saying:
It is evident that the Republic has been attacked by usurpers who must be leave their positions immediately. That is why parliament has taken a decision that it [initially] took last year to name a committee [to find] candidates for magistrates…
Guevara explained that a list of candidates for the positions should be available within the next 15 days.
PSUV Deputy Asks for TSJ to Conduct “Mental Evaluation” on AG
National Assembly deputy (PSUV) Pedro Carreño followed attorney general Ortega Diaz’s filing of the impeachment motion today by personally visiting the offices of the TSJ in order to request that the court put together a panel of experts to assess the attorney general’s mental health.
Carreño referenced the work that the Public Ministry has done on the deaths of protesters, and singled out the case of Juan Pablo Pernalete. Pernalete was killed in April during a protest in Caracas. While the regime claims that Pernalete was killed by protesters using a captive-bolt gun, the Public Ministry’s own extensive forensic investigations determined that he had in fact been killed by a tear gas canister impact to the chest. The fact was corraborated by multiple eye-witnesses to the killing.
Speaking on the Public Ministry’s work on the Pernalete case, Carreño said:
She [Ortega Diaz] is trying to cover up serious crimes in the country and that is a sign that this woman is out of her mind.
MUD Calls for Sit-Ins Across the Country Tomorrow
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) is calling on its supporters to participate in sit-ins across the country tomorrow starting at 10:00 AM. In Caracas, protesters are being instructed to meet at three different points.
Man Dies from Tear Gas Exposure in Vargas State
50-year-old Socrates Jesus Salgado died last night in Vargas state due to “respiratory failure” from exposure to tear gas fired by state security forces, according to National Assembly deputy Jose Manuel Olivares.
According to National Assembly Juan Guaido, Salgado was “near a protest” when he was overcome by the toxic gas, although it is not immediately clear that he was actively participating in the protest. Below, an image of Salgado:
Salgado is the 68th individual to die from protest-related causes since the unrest began in the country on April 1.
Police Officer Killed During Merida Protest
Douglas Acevedo Sanchez, a 41-year-old supervisor with the Merida State Police, was killed this afternoon during a protest in the Pie del Llano sector of the state. The death was first reported by a journalist named Leonardo Leon, who said that Acevedo had been shot in the neck during a confrontation with protesters in the area.
Another police officer and two civilians were injured during the same event.
Acevedo is the 69th individual to die from protest-related causes since the unrest began in the country on April 1.
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